Dogwood Investigates ..The Trouble With Girls Aloud

In a new regular column Cheambeat Communications Radio presenter Oliver Dogwood joins us to investigate all that is wrong with pop. This months conundrum is ..“the problem with Girls Aloud”....over to you Dogwood..

Hello Dogwood here

Settle down,

Now, for those of you that know me, you will be aware that my arch nemesis is a feller called Wilmot-Bwona.  He’s the Chief Exec down at the local Civic Centre, also the self-appointed Diversity Champion and regular bloody PC Tsar.  Here’s the feller that suggested that ‘Christmas was getting a bit passé’ and ‘wouldn’t it be more appropriate to embrace the multi-cultural facets of the local community and celebrate Kwanza instead?’  Anyway, in my role as chair of the Stoneleigh Allotment Society I am often called in to account for events on the Civic allotment scene.  This also gets me invites to all kind of local Civic do’s including the afore-mentioned Kwanza do (which I declined, I don’t do all that white man pretending to be black nonsense – I leave that to Gordon Sumner, he does pretentious patronisation to a tee that one).  But the one that’s really got my David Jacobs is this latest invite that came through the door this morning – it reads thus:

Dear Dogwood (the ‘Dogwood’ bit has been hand written)

You are cordially invited to my GIRLS ALOUD party.  The theme for the party is GIRLS ALOUD and you must come dressed up either as a member of GIRLS ALOUD or Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh or Ashley Cole.  The music for the night will be GIRLS ALOUD and we will be eating food that has only been officially endorsed by GIRLS ALOUD or that which does not endanger the livelihood of farmers on the Serengeti.  No Animal Furs aloud (LOL!) or leather shoes.

Yours,

Wilmot-Bwona

That LOL- bit got me puzzling and then I found out that its youth Jamaican txt patios and so I drew up my hands in surrender and walked slowly away.

Now suffice to say that I don’t do Girls Aloud, in block capitals or otherwise.  The idea of spending a night listening to their caterwauling about tubes on the underground and whatever other guff they spout thanks to their song-writing team is like being asked to go out on patrol in Stalingrad on the coldest night of the winter wearing a flimsy cheesecloth shirt (which I don’t do) and armed with a spatula in an area teeming with Germans.  No way, Johnny Briggs.

This got me thinking – why a GIRLS ALOUD themed night?  Why not a Joni Mitchell, Siouxsie Sioux or PJ Harvey party?  They arguably have a more compelling body of work to fall back on?  Better still, why not a Lush party? Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson versus Cheryl Crone and Sandra Hardface – no competition.  So I rang up Wilmot-Bwona’s PA and made some enquiries as follows:

“Why has Wilmot-Bwona chosen a bunch of bloody karaoke lightweights, chosen by the demon Cowell/Walsh axis?  Why not someone who is actually a bonafide singer-songwriter?  Why not a Johnny Cash night? I’ve got a black pair of Farahs”

To which the reply received was:

“Hmmm, can I get Mr Wilmot-Bwona to give you a ring?  Will you be coming incidentally?”

Yes to the first question and an emphatic no to the second”

Anyway, a while later Wilmot-Bwona rang:

Ah Dogwood sweetheart, thought I’d give you a tinkle to put you in the picture viz a viz my GIRLS ALOUD party (this is how he speaks)……”

I won’t bore you with the details but he started to enthuse about how GA had ‘transposed the barriers between the former boundaries of artificial, manufactured pop and credible song writing’ how ‘the innate snobbery of the broadsheet music critic had been challenged by their urban sassiness, their agility, their wit, their ability to capture the zeitgeist’ how ‘the days of serious music were over, manufactured pop was the new indie and GA were the new Oasis – voice of the people’. None of this Guardian supplement claptrap I neither understood nor swallowed.  He finished off with this gem:
“Dogwood, get with the programme, GA are Wonky Pop – pop with attitude!”

I replied by saying:
“Are you sure you don’t mean wanky pop?”

At which point the phone went dead.

I don’t buy all this revisionist nonsense about manufactured pop.  I remember Flintlock (google it children).  I also remember a time when the Bee Gees were three blokes – one who looked like a lion, one with a thinning pate and one who looked like henna era Quentin Crisp – who sang annoying songs in ludicrous falsetto voices.  No-one took them seriously.  However, now they are song-writing geniuses apparently.  Try telling that to the lads down the Crown twenty years ago.

Girl Power 2009?

The same disease affects what you would consider right-minded folk (i.e. those with an education).  There’s a certain type out there that if you tell them that men look good in crocs, they will go and buy a pair for every day of the week or that African sculptures are a must for the bathroom so that every time you have a Tom Tit you end up being stared at by some juju effigy.  These are sorts that used to get invited to Jamie Oliver’s Naked Chef dinner thingies and are now all media types attending Nigella’s sumptuous Christmas banquets.  And of course, what are they discussing at said banquets?  Yes, that’s right – how they’ve liked GA from the very start.  How they were at the first ‘gig’ and the first album ranks alongside ‘The Clash’ as a contemporary record of social commentary.

I’m afraid that anything orchestrated by the music industry SS, aka Cowell and Walsh, deserves resisting if only because it has removed choice from the every day consumer experience.  You don’t want to chance buying an album from some bunch of flaky Americans who call themselves Fleet Foxes, not when the new X-Factor and gaggle of X-Factor near-misses swamp the market with their sure-fire crowd pleasing sub-Robbie Williams’ cak.  Let me tell you something: Cowell and Walsh mistrust YOU, the real music fan, simply because they don’t understand you.  They want to marginalise you because you raise awkward points, cite bands and artists they’ve never heard of (for them Razorshite are a cutting edge Prog-Rock outfit), don’t like the music that ‘normal people’ like. If you listen to the X-Factor auditions you would think that the world’s total musical output revolves around about 40-50 songs – normally sung by the likes of Watney Houston, Robbie Walliams, Brittany Ferry and Take This.  Anything beyond their limited ken is dismissed as ‘zany’ and ‘mad’.  They are successful in their quest because 90% of people in this country (the ‘normal people’) think like-wise.  There are countless pubs where the real Phil Mitchell’s will sink lager and sing-along to GA quite happily but if, say, Portishead came on the jukebox then they would transform into an aggressive ape demanding to know ‘what poof put this shit on?’

So, there is a medical reason for GA, it subdues the latent aggressive tendency of the bald-headed gorillas.  It’s just as Orwell predicted, if you feed the Proles with the sort of saccharine junk that keeps them happy then they’ll be content to fight amongst themselves and allow Big Brother to get on with the real work.

There’s nothing ‘ironic’ or ‘post modern’ or ‘pure pop’ about GA.  There’s the one married to Cashley Cole, the Geordie one who mouths off ‘hadaway and shite man’. There’s Sarah blonde one, who seems to be the one who likes the hooch.  The Dana one from Ireland .  The Silent ginger scouse one and the other one.  That’s all there is to it.  Nothing more.  Show’s over folks.  They’re shite.

Settle down

Dogwood

Links

The wisdom of Girls Aloud

“I Predict A Riot”-  GA-Karaoke

( and I thought the Kaisers where rubbish!  This cover redefines the word “cringeworthy!”)

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10 comments

  1. vonpip · January 10, 2009

    Bravo old son , fair play to you

    I’m glad you’ve mentioned these tuneless harridans, old fella as I’m sick to my back teeth of folk I consider sensible telling me how great this band are, how Xenophobia (or whatever they are called) write fantastic pop, as if they have a monopoly on pure pop and somehow re-invented the wheel . Two words Saint Etienne! Not ruddy Girls Aloud.

    Of course there’s a twisted snobbery behind this love of “GA” it’s often done as a way of proving your music lover credentials… ” I just like good music, I have no problem with it being manufactured, good music is good music, pop is the new indie ” type shtick , a badge of honour to show just how “open minded to great music “ they are , and not a blinkered studenty Indie geek, restrained by genres and the NME as they shout from the rooftops about just how great commercial pop is and what a perfect band GA are. Thing is it;s the very same, Girls Aloud, co-incidentally who are the pop band that the broadsheets, and Indie media tell us it’s okay to like!!

    ( I’d love to know how Cowell sold that “concept”)

    Yes they love Girls Aloud as its fun , its catchy and its life affirming, (sic)However, in such arguements they alway’s omitt to mention that GA themselves are a Cowell/ Walsh creation, the axis of pop evil , that bit’s been airbrushed out of the equation, as they prattle on and on and on about “pure pop and Girls Aloud being somehow being subversive and tell you (with the same sort of snobbery they accuse indie kids of having, ) that you must have “no soul if you don’t like Girls Aloud” … Well I think they are a big bag o’shite musically, and I don’t want to be “trendy” or “open minded”, crap is crap is crap and this malarky is nowt more than “turd polishing” …GA have a place , but it aint in my record collection – Pure pop my arse!

  2. FRED THE RED · January 10, 2009

    Why the F**k did the Kaisers let these half wits cover “Riot” anyway. It horrible they llok so lame!

  3. vonpip · January 10, 2009

    Apparently they didn’t Kaisers heavyweight singer Jockey Wilson is peed off that the girls didn’t ask permission to adopt the tune AND that they changed the lyrics.

    The ladies, who regularly perform the raucous indie anthem during their live shows, tweak the line “girls run around with no clothes on to borrow a pound for a condom” to “girls run around with no clothes on to borrow a pound for the bus stop”.

    And Wilson ain’t happy. “I don’t give a sh*t (about them covering the song) if they don’t change the words. But They did change the words,”

    “The thing is about Girls Aloud. They do sexy dancing, it’s all sex…(but) they didn’t say ‘condom’. They said ‘bus stop’. What? It’s illegal?”

    But while he’s no fan of GA’s tribute he likes the fact Lily Allen covered ‘Oh My God’, another one of the band’s biggest hits

    “Lily Allen asked permission,” he said, “Girls Aloud didn’t – and they changed the words. It’s embarrassing, people think we’ve been asked… It was even on Jonathan Ross the other day.”

  4. Jonathan · January 11, 2009

    I agree with everything you say: we should be willing to call crap “crap”.

    We did not take the Bee Gees seriously. I still don’t. I don’t intend to start now. The current rehabilitation of Neil Diamond has left me nauseous on more than one occasion.

    On the other hand, we were far more tribal in our loyalties and probably missed out on a great deal of good music as a result. I do think that we have to acknowledge that “pop” has produced some great songs. Some great song writers have had their talents massacred by pop production values and terrible hair (Kirsty McColl isprings to mind) and the likes of us probably didn’t notice them at the time. Perhaps, we should be a little more eclectic. A little more broad minded. Willing, occasionally, to look underneath the glossy production. On the other hand, Cowell, Walsh and Girls Aloud should be indicted for crimes against good taste. If only to encourage the others.

  5. Geraldine · January 12, 2009

    I’d say this blog features it’s fair share of “pop” . But it seems to be pop of slighty more cerebal nature than Cowells, polished, slicksouless rubbish. Obvioulsy Phil Spector was an evil genius, and I think the big difference between say Spector and Cowell is the word “Genius” . Phil Spector wrote produced and developed a “sound” . Cowell is just a bean counter who knows nothing about music. To quote Oscar “he knows the price of everything and the value of nothing” He’s a glorfied accountant

    Girls Aloud are just another load of rubbish span as something they are clearly not. Dogwood used the one word that sums up this sorry bunch and three more would be “Emperors New Clothes”

  6. Mister Lion · January 13, 2009

    “GA have a place , but it aint in my record collection”

    That’s all right sir, they’re perfectly welcome in mine.

    I like the Beegees, too.

  7. vonpip · January 13, 2009

    Yes but that’s purely due to that the fact that the Bee -Gees have a Lion in their number.

    As for GA , well it’s all been said

  8. Mister Lion · January 13, 2009

    No, no I say, all is NOT yet said – in the depths of the London Underground system, there is a ghost station, unused for decades, glimpsed only by those with a keen eye and their foreheads pressed firmly against the smeared glass of the tube train… and in the bowels of that deserted station lies a gargantuan, glistening, glowing egg. At the allotted time, not so far away now, a chosen one will step forth from the ranks of humanity, and at that time the egg will hatch… nobody is yet certain what shall emerge from this curious vessel, but at that moment all will, indeed, be said, and the answers will be provided.

    Anyhoo, Dogwood, you’re twice the man I am and at least three times as bright, but I can’t quite reconcile the longevity and success of the Girls Aloud lasses and their output with the annual cyclical machinations of the Cowell/Walsh commerce juggernaut. There’s a difference between well-produced commercial output and the sickening karaoke engine of X Factor and the like.

  9. Carla Blue · January 13, 2009

    I have not got anything against well polished pop, no, but this is soulless pap. As a mother I find Girls Aloud more of a greed machine than apop machine, they promote fast food to impressionable young girls and sing about being Love Machines and about sex, dress up as schoolies or in fetishists latex and as Ricky Wilson said, wont mention a condom ..Answer is because their marketing demographic is as much for children as teens. Its hypocrisy. The fact that they use auto-tune and are out shopping with their footballer husbands when the songs are written is annoying. But worse thing though is the fact that “trendy” newspapers like the Guardian have been bribed by Mr Cowells PR machine. Girls aloud are simply another variation on the Spice Girls. Lets face it it could have been One True voice that won the show, they’d have the same writing team, would they be held in the same esteem? The other problem is this group were invented by Walsh and Cowell, they are the result of “Pop Idol-The Rivals”, that’s the truth…and it shows.

    Dogwood is 100% correct

  10. Mister Lion · January 13, 2009

    Well, he sees Orwell as a predictor of current society, so that knocks a couple of percent off… but I’m splitting hairs…

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